Date:June 30, 2015
Source:University of Oklahoma
Summary:Using the nation's weather radar network, two doctoral students have developed a technique for forecasting something other than the weather: the orientation behavior of birds as they migrate through the atmosphere at night.
he students have discovered a way to use the latest dual-polarization radar upgrade to measure broad-scale flight orientation of nocturnal migrant birds -- a promising development for biologists and bird enthusiasts.The approach to the problem paired Phillip M. Stepanian, a meteorology and electrical engineering student, and Kyle G. Horton, a biology student, on the study that demonstrates how the upgraded national weather radar network contributed to the understanding of animal flight orientation behavior at a large spatial scale. Stepanian and Horton may be the first to develop a practical application of polarimetric radar data for tracking migrant birds during nighttime flight.